Why You Must Read Shakespeare to Understand OITNB’s Second Season

Orange

  In its first season, Orange is the New Black (OITNB) was a show about a motley crew of women prisoners premised on the fact that these women were much more than criminals. They were mothers, wisecracks, lovers, entrepreneurs, dreamers and, most of all, friends (albeit among racial lines). It was also, on the other hand, a show about how there are “criminal” desires in all of us, even in bourgeois, educated people like Piper, the protagonist in the first season, who finds herself … [Read more...]

Our Independence Day

The neighborhood where I grew up traditionally hosts its Fourth of July festivities on the Friday before the holiday.  The theory, so I understand, is to be able to draw revelers from adjacent communities by avoiding competing with everyone else’s Independence Day events.  I’m tempted to speculate that this profit-maximization logic makes this late June party more American than its July 4th counterparts. Though the celebration is supported by local government, it’s actually hosted by … [Read more...]

Light! You will exist!

As a fresh-faced college student in Montréal, I decided to go explore the city that would be my home for the following three years. One of of the first things I happened across (yes, happened, I am terrible with maps) was the basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal. Beautiful though it was, the thing that caught my attention most was a sign hanging outside advertising a light show. The sign read "Et la lumière fut". Whoa! I immediately realized that this was the French rendering of Genesis 1:3, … [Read more...]

A New Meaning of Freedom

Marie was a young woman who struggled with her weight, starting from a young age. At seven, her mother placed her on her first diet. At fifteen, they took her to an institution to be treated for bulimia. Like all chronic dieters, she suffered from a weight that yoyo-ed. Marie could never be satisfied, for she was bombarded daily with advertisements demanding she live up to our culture's paradoxical ideal - enjoying food in overabundance, eating out often and cleaning her plate—while … [Read more...]

Kim Kierkegaardashian and the Culture of Nothingness

“Rise & grind! Busy day!! Gym then packing 4 Paris again! This is the despair of finitude, when the self is lost to the temporal, the trivial,” tweeted Kim Kierkegaardashian, a Twitter account that combines Søren Kierkegaard quotes and Kim Kardashian’s tweets. As the New Yorker reports, this feed offers “reflective maxims on life, death, sin, and emptiness, salted with luxury accessories of the Kardashian lifestyle.” The Washington Post explains, “Basically what you have is … [Read more...]

Happy Feast of St. John the Baptist

In the Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican Churches today is the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, when we recall the birth of St. John and his role as a forerunner to Christ. Above we've inserted a clip of Ut Queant Laxis, one traditional chant from this feast day. The words, sung in Latin, translate this way: So that your servants may, with loosened voices, resound the wonders of your deeds, clean the guilt from our stained lips, O Saint John. Below is a text from St. Augustine's … [Read more...]

Talking About Thomism

Some books and songs and movies and talks stay with you, and the longer they stay with you, the more you feel the need to share them. This past January, I heard a short discussion of St. Thomas Aquinas's thought (called Thomism) that was among the most compelling I'd yet encountered. It's stayed with me, and I wanted to highlight it, especially in light of conversations I've had with some friends lately about putting Christ at the center of our discourse. Fr. Thomas Joseph White, a Dominican … [Read more...]


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